APHA offers plan for boosting pandemic preparedness

first_imgFeb 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The nation’s largest public health group, the American Public Health Association (APHA), yesterday released recommendations aimed at strengthening existing federal strategies for pandemic preparedness and encouraging local officials and businesses to play key roles.At the top of its list are more resources for an overburdened public health workforce, which will play a key role in responding to a pandemic flu outbreak. Other recommendations in the APHA’s 16-page report range from expanding surge capacity in hospitals and public health labs to providing emergency medical coverage for people who are uninsured.Preparing for an influenza pandemic isn’t just the job of the public health sector, said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, the APHA executive director, in a press release yesterday. “The general public must be equipped with the proper resources to prepare themselves in the event of a flu pandemic,” he said. “The better we prepare now, the better our chances will be for protecting the health of Americans during an emergency.”Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit public health advocacy group, lauded the APHA’s report, particularly its call for Congress to enact measures, such as scholarship and loan incentives, to bolster the public health workforce. “This is an excellent report that covers some of the critical pandemic preparation issues and places them appropriately in larger context,” he told CIDRAP News.Though isolation of flu patients and quarantine of exposed people are likely to play a limited role in the early stages of a pandemic, policymakers need to shore up laws and policies on isolation and quarantine, including who has authority to issue quarantine orders, the APHA report says. “These decisions should be made on the basis of scientific risk and use the least restrictive alternative.”The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with state and local officials, should develop national standards for sheltering in place, and the public should be urged to prepare to shelter at home for at least 2 weeks, according to the report.HHS and the US Department of Education should take the lead in developing national criteria for school closings in a pandemic and should make school districts aware of them, the report says.The APHA questions a component of the HHS antiviral stockpiling plan that encourages states to purchase antiviral medication with a 25% federal subsidy. According to a USA Today report on the antiviral subsidy program, written after the Aug 1, 2006, signup deadline, at least 43 states indicated they wanted to participate, though some said their ability to buy the drugs was uncertain. “The level of protection Americans receive should not be determined by where they live and the current fiscal position of their states,” the report says.Funding for national stockpiles of medical and lab supplies is inadequate, the document says. Besides items such as ventilators, syringes, and gloves, the medical stockpile should include equipment and medications needed to treat people who have chronic illnesses such as HIV and diabetes.In addition, the Food and Drug Administration should consider relaxing its limit on the amount of medicine that can be dispensed per prescription so that people with serious health problems can store enough medication to get them through an isolation or quarantine order during a pandemic, the APHA contends.Echoing the concerns of other health advocacy groups, such as TFAH, the APHA calls on Congress and HHS to establish an emergency Medicaid designation to encourage uninsured people to seek treatment more quickly if they have influenza symptoms. Other measures the APHA says would help ensure patients’ access to medical care during a pandemic include improving medical surge capacity—not only for flu patients, but also for those with other medical conditions.The APHA report places a strong emphasis on pandemic-related business and occupational health concerns. It urges businesses to consider paid sick-leave policies that encourage employees to stay home when they or their family members are contagious during a pandemic.Also, the group recommends including several other business-related provisions in the national pandemic plan, such as:Setting guidelines about work-related influenza exposure for use in workers’ compensation casesProviding financial support for employers who face extremely high costs for worker protectionRequiring employers to develop pandemic preparedness plansMandating employee training in prevention and exposure controlRecommending that workers in high-risk occupations wear respirators rather than surgical masksLike other groups, such as the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the APHA critiques current federal emergency response plans for designating the Department of Homeland Security as the lead agency in a flu pandemic, leaving HHS responsible only for “very traditional public health and medical issues.””Responding to a pandemic flu is much different than responding to a terrorist attack or hurricane,” the report says. “Therefore, public health officials—the Department of Health and Human Services—should have the formal authority to take the lead in the federal response to pandemic flu.”See also:Feb 22 APHA press releaseAPHA report: “Prescription for Pandemic Flu”http://www.apha.org/advocacy/policy/APHA+Prescription+for+Pandemic+Flu.htmFeb 1 CIDRAP News story “HHS ties pandemic mitigation advice to severity”Jan 25 CIDRAP News story “IDSA urges requiring flu shots for healthcare workers”last_img read more

Championship mindset carries Heather Hardy into Bellator 222 battle at Madison Square Garden

first_img “But I could never say that fighting at The Garden isn’t goosebumps for me because that was one of the first times my dad realized I was an actual professional athlete was when he got to tell his friends that I was going to be performing where Billy Joel plays the piano.”Join DAZN and watch Bellator 222 on June 14While Hardy has made multiple appearances in the ring at Barclays, her first foray into the world of mixed martial arts came at The Garden a little under two years ago when she took on Alice Yauger in a bloody back-and-forth battle that ended with “The Heat” getting her hand raised in victory.She was back in the cage four months later, suffering the first loss of her professional combat sports career as a result of a doctor’s stoppage against current flyweight contender Kristina Williams before earning a unanimous decision win in her lone MMA appearance of 2018 against fellow boxer Ana Julaton at Bellator 194.Hardy’s foray into MMA has been a learn-on-the-fly, trial-by-fire situation, but now that she’s got another camp under her belt and aligned herself with the crew at Longo-Weidman MMA on Long Island, the fight game veteran feels primed to start putting it all together and making appreciable progress in her quest to replicate her success in the ring inside the cage.“I’ve got to be honest: my first two fights, I was kind of just winging it, right?” she said with a laugh. “It was like ‘we’ll see what I know how to do’ and it took me some time to really learn how to do things.“You guys saw my boring jiu jitsu in my last fight, but that was the onset of me starting to learn how to grapple; that was literally the first time I ever did it,” she continued. “This sport is definitely way bigger than I am and I have a long way to go, but after this last eight-week camp, I’m really excited to see where I can take it.“The one thing I love about Longo’s guys and everybody there is that they’re all just fight nerds, science nerds,” Hardy added of the team that includes former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman and current contenders Al Iaquinta and Aljamain Sterling. “They don’t just go in and make you fight — they break everything down, explain the science of it and that’s how I need to learn things. It’s how I was able to transition so quickly into boxing.”Hardy only started boxing at age 28.A year later, she won the UBF International female super-bantamweight title in her seventh professional fight. She picked up the WBC version of the belt two years after that and has since added the WBC International female featherweight strap, the NABF female featherweight belt and the WBO female featherweight title to her impressive collection.Now, at age 37, her record stands at 22-0 with one No Contest and she is considered one of the best female boxers in the world.As much as we often talk about athleticism and raw talent as key factors that help determine how far a competitor could go in this sport, and get especially excited when an elite talent from another combat sport matriculates to the cage, the most important contributor to being able to find success in MMA could be having the humility and confidence to know that you don’t know everything. And that surrounding yourself with people who are going to push you to grow is essential.While she doesn’t have a ton of experience inside the cage as of yet, Hardy fully understands that championship mindset and has put herself in the best position to learn every single day alongside the Longo-Weidman crew on Long Island.“I know what it takes to become a champion,” said Hardy. “I know what the learning process is like. I know how to humble yourself, submit yourself to your training and your teaching and how you have to have complete faith in your coach that he’s telling you all the right things and teaching you all the right things.”If you’re not learning, there’s a problem. You can’t do the same thing every day and expect to get better, so if a week goes by or two weeks go by and you realize you’re not learning how to do something better, than you’re doing ineffective training.“Being able to learn and knowing that every week, something is improving, I’m learning something new — that’s the formula for success,” she added. “It’s not just work hard, sweat and show up at the gym; you have to work smart as well and I love that with this team because I’m really working smart.”Apparently, she’s also gotten mean.“In this fight camp, I got so mean that my sparring partners get out of the ring and ask my coaches if I’m mad at them,” said Hardy, who has a Wu-Tang Clan logo etched on her right shoulder and identifies “Triumph” as her favorite track and Inspectah Deck as her favorite lyricist. As a Brooklyn native, Heather Hardy has an affinity for competing at Barclays Center, having laced up the gloves and stepped into the ring in her borough’s arena on eight occasions, registering a 7-0 record with one no-contest. But the multiple-time world champion boxer also has a special place in her heart for Madison Square Garden.“It’s apples and oranges. I love them both,” said Hardy, who takes on Taylor Turner at MSG on Friday night as part of the Bellator 222 preliminary card. “I can’t lie — there is something special to me about fighting at the Barclays Center. I was the first female to fight there and I fought there nine or 10 times; it has become a second home to me. While she personally doesn’t watch video of her opponents, entrusting the scouting process to her coaches, the crossover star has done her due diligence on Taylor Turner and fully expects the improving 36-year-old from Tennessee to be at her best Friday night.“There was an article online about ‘Everyone is sleeping on Taylor,’ but no. I don’t sleep on anyone, not in MMA; I’m still a baby in this sport,” she said of her bout with the 3-5 Turner. “I know she’s coming off two pretty big wins, first-round stoppages, so I know she’s going to come out aggressive, but everyone comes out harder when they’ve got to fight me, when they get their chance in the spotlight.“I’m expecting nothing but fireworks from this girl and I’ve been training for it. I’m excited to get in there.”last_img read more